Although the term lawnmower parenting — describing mums and dads who will do just about anything to ensure their kids don't have to deal with any type of struggle — isn't new, a teacher's viral essay on the subject has brought the parenting style into the spotlight.
According to the anonymous teacher: "Lawnmower parents go to whatever lengths necessary to prevent their child from having to face adversity, struggle, or failure. Instead of preparing children for challenges, they mow obstacles down so kids won't experience them in the first place."
Know a parent or two like this? Possibly yourself? Read through for the signs that you're most definitely giving off those lawnmower parent vibes.
1. You bring forgotten belongings to school.
As soon as your child texts that they left something behind, you're on your way — whether you were in the middle of something else, will be late to work if you stop by the school, or even if you've already told them no, all they need to do is ask a bit harder before you cave.
2. You pick up their room for them, do their laundry, and clean up their dinner plates.
You're getting ready in the morning and you rush over when your child says, "Can you put my shoes on for me, I'm tired?" Classic lawnmower parenting is ensuring your child never has to struggle, even at home. If you're doing all of your kids' chores for them, picking things up that they drop, or giving in when they ask you to get their coat from the closet, you're enabling them to the max — and they might even be manipulating you because they know they can.
3. You blame their teachers for their bad grades.
At a parent-teacher conference, you're much more likely to blame their teachers for not teaching your child correctly or thoroughly, rather than turning to your child and evaluating whether they're doing everything they can to succeed in school.
4. You push for them to be in classes or activities above their level.
Raise your hand if you're calling the school to ask they be put in an Honors class rather than regular because it'll "boost their confidence," or you're assuring their karate instructor that yes, they actually do deserve their next belt despite not meeting the requirements for it. Although you're not "mowing down" potential struggles and adversities for your kids in these cases, for the sake of boosting their self-esteem and confidence, you could actually be setting them up for failures in situations they're ill-equipped for.
5. You handle any type of situation that might make them uncomfortable by talking for them.
Maybe you think your child is too shy to order what they want in a restaurant, so you say, "He'll have the grilled cheese." Or perhaps you're one to call their soccer coach to ask them why they're not playing much or what they need to do to be a first string player on the team. In both cases, you're the one handling their business for them, when they could be learning how to tackle these scenarios themselves — especially if they're teens getting ready to go off to college in a few years.
6. You break up fights between friends and siblings before they're resolved.
It can be tough — even annoying — to watch your kids fight with their siblings or friends, so as a lawnmower parent, you typically tend to intervene. Rather than letting the fight rage on and get worse before it gets better, you find a way to remove the catalyst and redirect the kids to something else.
7. You spend hours Googling maths equations and science facts to "help" with homework.
Whether it's your child's nightly homework or a big project that's due, you rush to help them even when you have no idea what they're actually doing. Instead of telling your child to check their textbooks, do some research, and refer to their class notes, you'd rather help them out — aka mostly do it for them — to make sure their work is "perfect."
8. Your child crumbles in the face of failure.
At any point your child feels overwhelmed, anxious, or like they have failed or will fail at something, they lose it. Because you're handling so many aspects of their life for them, coddling them when they need something, and resolving issues for them, they have no idea how to do any of that themselves when you're not around. This results in tears, fears, and probably tantrums if they're little.
This article was first published on PopSugar.